Sydney.. is the place to be

I have not been blogging for more than four months because I was going through a tough time in life. Yesterday was Sunday, and although I really wanted to stay in bed all day, I forced myself to: clean out my bookshelf, throw some things out from the fridge, take a walk around the neighbourhood, go to the supermarket, knead some dough, let it rest, do laundry, and make dinner.

I thought all these activities would tire me out, but oh how naive, it didn’t ‘cure’ my anxiety or insomnia one bit, and I groaned when I awoke an hour after I ‘successfully’ fell asleep. I need to see the doctor.

Some acquaintances have been telling me oh you need therapy, oh you need to relax, oh you need to stop smoking so you can buy a nice car, oh this and that. Let’s just say this: I didn’t choose to have trouble sleeping, I didn’t sit down, pore over my choices, and then decide HEY LET ME BE THIS SAD AND ANXIOUS! IT’S PROBABLY FUN!


I went to Sydney. I had never been to Australia before this trip because I never had any reason or interest to visit. I was also aware I probably would not enjoy something village-y after Yogyakarta, which I will write about soon, and I really wanted to relax. I flew to Sydney in the wee hours of the Friday morning before Christmas, reached slightly after lunch (still Friday). Immigration was a bit slow. It was officially summer already, but because of how and where Sydney is located, it got pretty cold in the evening. I had a moto jacket for flights but never thought to bring anything else jacket-y or warm.

A lot of Singaporeans like to mention that Australia is racist. I never travelled much but have to say never been discriminated against except one time in Shanghai some guy on a bicycle spat at me and Mimi. It was a racist spit because he half-yelled ‘MALAYSIA!’ before spitting. Should have whipped my passport out!

I (thankfully) did not experience discrimination in Sydney. Maybe because the place I stayed (Bankstown) had a lot of Vietnamese restaurants and other Asian types around😊

I am on mobile so don’t know if the formatting would be weird. Here are some pictures:

Price-wise for food, Sydney can be a bit expensive compared to Singapore. The portion is of course larger than Singapore’s, and I had Greek food the first night I was there. Loved the Haloumi cheese sticks, not so much the chips (fries), but LOVED the calamari souvlaki and lamb wrap. It was a bit too much for me, though.

I also wanted my fair share of touristy things, possibly because I knew people were gonna ask, ‘Did you see this and that?’ When I came back to Singapore I thought about it and realised I didn’t give a rat’s ass. If I didn’t go, I didn’t go! Nobody should care, because I certainly don’t.

So I went to:

1) Take a ferry to Darling Harbour

2) Take a ferry to Watsons Bay

3) Visit Featherdale Wildlife Park

4) Visit Blue Mountains

5) Buy sashimi at Sydney Fish Market

The rest of the things I did were not exactly touristy.

I went to Newtown to look at Gould’s Books (store). One thing I love about Sydney is the signs are hilarious! You would never see such things in Singapore because we are mostly business-like. For example:

I just thought it was funny. I can imagine people in Singapore going ‘Why must say it is for humans? Isn’t that implied?

And this one:

And Kiss and Ride. Google it. I had to turn around and take a photo because all these things amused me.

Also, I saw a lot of graffiti. The Singaporean in me was a bit ‘hmmm’ but I got used to it. And I was fascinated by the power lines and the massive space in Sydney.

Pictures of the ferry rides:

The Sydney Opera House is actually beige/something not white. I always thought it was white.

Went to the wildlife park en route to Blue Mountains. We saw all kinds of birds (pelicans, ibises, cassowary) wallabies, wallaroos, kangaroos, dingoes, koalas, wombats. For 2 dollars a cup you can feed the marsupials. Not the koalas who were mostly asleep.

I will continue later. Now I need to quickly go home and study for an exam I’m taking soon.

Things I Hear (and see) At Work

I have worked in the education sector for close to six years now. When I was 19, I worked in the government sector. I was fired three years after that.

I did something else for close to ten months and then I got a job in a polytechnic. Gig lasted almost 3 years, and then I worked in another school for 6 months. The second gig was not fun. Then I was jobless for another 6 months, and then I got a job at my current workplace. Love it. Stressful? Sometimes. Fun? Yes.

Shit I Heard/See

There are many schools in Singapore. I work in post-secondary schools so you would think people would be clever-er. They are not! (spoiler alert)

  • The One With JPEG

In one of my gigs my job was to ensure that course notes were printed and delivered on time. There was a short course on how to fix the a/c and this old guy (the instructor) came to give me his notes. Around 200 pages of JPEG images. He saved his ENTIRE course notes in jpeg format. Who. The. Fuck. Does. That?! My computer would not allow me to print in sequence with a click of a button so I had to sit there for at least 30 minutes to print all. This was worse than the time I chastised someone for printing ONE PPT SLIDE per page. 297 pages. What a waste of paper! You need almost 150 sheets of paper!

  • The One With Competitors

I had a colleague with three school-going children. She was very Malay, and when I say this I don't mean the good Malay. I mean the kind of Malay you are glad you see only sometimes. I was telling her over breakfast that my brother went to NTU, but he went to an art school before that and her face drew a blank. "NAFA?" I said. "Private art school," I explained. I mean come on. LASALLE was and still is probably the most popular, and then you have the Chinese school NAFA! How could you not know when you work in that sector? My mom of course knows. She paid for it! Anyway makcik bodoh la.

  • The One Without The Slide

I had this superior once who was quite annoying. I don't know whether it was age, or it's just him, but he invited an agency over to do business with us. I was not invited to this particular meeting but at the last minute he made me attend. So agency gave the briefing for the school (my workplace) to take over this portion, and I sat through the meeting in my pjyama pants and flip flops. Deputy Director was ready to say yes. So I said "Where are your slides on the numbers?" "Oh we didn't prepare that" Me: "Well I need to see them. I need to know how much money I can expect to make a year" "Oh. Okay. We don't have that slide" "Why not make that slide and come back and present it? So I can see whether it makes sense?" "Oh okay"

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!

This was the same boss who said my bringing in the business would be parked under Business Development. I signed a company for SGD 20,000 per course for 8 students and they were doing it four times and I did the business over email… no phone calls.. no handshake necessary, just three-liner emails and quick fire response.

I still hate that boss. He is a nice person but at work he was rubbish.

  • The One With The Barking

I'd like to think I am a reasonable person. I do not get upset when I receive emails from angry students or mothers, and what I do is defuse the situation. I usually do this with emotion out of the way. Then after work I'd just bitch about it to my loved ones.

One time a student wrote in CAPS: "[My name] DO YOU WANT ME TO BARK LIKE A DOG! (plus expletives) So customer service sent the email to me and cc-ed my AVP and SVP to deal with it.

I didn't respond to the student directly but shot customer service, my AVP, the SVP, and my supervisor an email about 1) getting Planning (the fellas in charge of timetables) to explain the frequent change in schedules (which was the crux of the issue) and 2) coming forward to support staff (i.e. me) when they face abuse from students. Everyone scrambled to apologise to me and made Planning deal with student. I no longer received any emails from customer service.

I also have terrible stories about front desk and customer service in general but I am tired now I want to watch Bojack.

Things That Make Me Miss New York

I Netflix a lot for someone who is busy. Currently I watch Shooter. I don't think it has an excellent rating but I like shows with guns.

Other shows I like include: The Blacklist, Suits, Elementary (the first three seasons), The Good Wife, comedy specials such as Trevor Noah's Afraid of the Dark, John Mulaney The Comeback Kid (I also enjoyed New In Town), Sarah Silverman's A Speck of Dust.

I watched BoJack Horseman earlier this week and I saw:

See painting behind the female character (Diane Nyugen). Isn't that… a.. Matisse?

Shown in Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

And then a couple of months ago I watched The Blacklist.

Tom Keen in a laundromat. The same one I went to the Sunday I flew back to Singapore. I spent almost 2 hours doing laundry because I didn't want my mom to have to wash 10 days worth of clothes.

I miss New York! 😦

I am Old

People always say things like “you are only as old as you think/feel/dress“. I am old. I’ll get over it but I am old.

How I know I am old? Well I don’t have grey pubic hair (that’s a blog post for when I am 40) but there were and are some signs:

  • Feeling lethargic all the time

In my early twenties I went out after work all the time. I’d be hanging out someplace (Tanjong Pagar was my favourite) shooting the breeze with a friend/friends. I’d get home at 11pm sometimes 1am and then sleep and get up for work. Sometimes when I was lazy I’d just text my supervisor to take a sickie.

If you asked me to go out after work now any one of these things must happen or must have happened: 1) somebody is sick at the hospital, 2) somebody died, 3) it is a simple dinner and we will be done by 8pm, 4) if we are not done by 8, it’d better be a Friday! 5) hot guy but it’d better be Friday! 6) a play I am dying to watch

Plus! If I went home at midnight Mondays through Thursdays I would either have to call in sick or dead the next day.

  • Not fazed by things

I had a prolonged adolescence so a lot of things bothered me. I did things in my teens and most of my twenties I wouldn’t do now such as 1) delete people off Facebook, 2) banter with people on Facebook over some stupid thing, 3) get upset by Facebook comments, 4) everything Facebook basically.

Now I don’t hang out with people I don’t like. I don’t text them back. I might not even have their number. I don’t follow them on Instagram. I don’t care if they are on my Facebook. I don’t care if they delete me. I don’t care if they throw shade at me and somebody else takes a screenshot to show me. I don’t care if somebody has a problem with somebody else at work unless it directly affects work.. I don’t care if they leave stupid comments on my posts. Sometimes I shoot a witty line when I bother. But most days I don’t.

  • Body parts I didn’t know existed hurt

Plus. I now have a good knee and a not-so good knee. Need to take probiotics. Stomach gets upset when I want to be adventurous with food. Sweet things are no longer nice. I hate having dinner. The dentist is suddenly terrifying. Trips to the doctor are not exciting when I get two days MC. I have two days MC? Fuck I’ll just take the meds and maybe one day rest. When I rest I really rest. I switch off my phone. Because headache! I also now have a gynae. I want to change gynae. I haven’t booked appointment. The receptionist at work always asks if it’s time to dial 995 when I complain of abdomen pain. And hand sanitizer. Where has that hand been!

  • Later is my favourite word (I lazy to bold this)

I mean okay. All procrastinators like this word. But HEY. I have two days off on weekends right. Maybe I’ll go to the museum. But I have to shower and wear clothes. Lazy! I bought sandpaper to sand my canvas for painting. I’ll do it later. Want to try the Philips Air Fryer. Still in shrink wrap. Lazy! Later need to wash so many things. Want to reinvent myself and be cool. How old was Madonna when she reinvented herself. Later I will google……. I like you and would love to hang out with you. Can we set a date for 2028? When I finally get my ass off the couch?

I am old, whiney, and lazy.

Things I Thought About Today

Random, couch toughts on Sunday:

  • Does a drug like NZT (on that movie Limitless) really exist?
  • Why do Malay people like to give birth so much?
  • When women or, wives, of men who constantly cheat on them write sweet, convincing things on Facebook do I feel sorry for the women, or the men? Or that this is just part and parcel of life so feeling sorry for anyone is unnecessary?
  • Are we allowed to beat children (of guests) who touch things in our home? (Nothing to do with me; I haven’t had random children in my home in years)
  • Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Hsien Loong! Who is the baddie?
  • When the Singapore government say we are short of babies, do they only mean Chinese babies?
  • Why is my cat always naughty?
  • Why am I always naughty?
  • Why is it so hard to feel motivated to date?
  • Are Indonesian women (born and raised) more marry-able than Singaporean Malay women?
  • Is Rihanna’s Love On The Brain difficult to sing at karaoke?

What a busy day I had. 

Stories From My Childhood

I had a terribly long week. I love my job (as you can see on Facebook; it’s all I ever talk about) but sometimes gahhhh.

I am feeling a little nostalgic while I am taking a dump so maybe I will tell you a few stories from my childhood. They’re not too interesting but maybe you would enjoy them.

Pendek Kata

In Malay, pendek kata means ‘in short’ but separately, pendek means short, and kata could mean word or say. There was this advert that went on on the Malay channel with some VJ (video jockey) saying ‘pendek kata bla bla bla’. My Malay was Band 1 (which means it is, I mean was, good) but I was confused and turned to my sister and asked “Who is Pendek??”

Teletubbies Craze

The year I turned 11 there was the teletubbies craze. I wanted a Teletubby, specifically Po, and specifically made by Fisher Price. I cried twice because my mom refused to buy me one, and then my dad refused to buy me one, but then he got me a Yamaha keyboard so I would shut up. I played the keyboard for as long as I could but changing batteries was a bitch. It needed at least 6, IIRC.

Getting a permanent

Not record. Perm as in permed hair. My aunt and mom got together like keratin scientists and permed my hair when I was a toddler:

and my mom did it again when I was 5 or 6.

That is a picture of me and my aunt at my old house. My mom liked me so much when I was this age because of my fake curls and tubby tummy. My mom is insane I am so glad she no longer makes decisions about my hair. Or wardrobe.

Abuse in Primary School

I used to sit beside this fat Chinese boy in Primary 3, and we used to talk a lot during Maths class. One day the teacher, who was my 11th floor neighbour, got sick of our shit, came up to us while I was talking and hit our palms with a longass wooden ruler. I was shocked, then immediately shut up for the rest of the day. I told my mom who told me ok next time don’t talk!

I miss the 90s. You can’t say bad things about, or beat kids these days.

The Mysterious World of Dating

I am single in real life. Heck, I am single in all lives. It doesn’t bother me much, but I have those rare days where I feel lonely. Rare, but they exist. I used to believe that I did not need to kiss a bunch of frogs in order to meet Mr. Right, because a good man is made for a good woman, but oh how naive!

Dating is something I find mysterious. I don’t know what topics I should talk about on date 1 or  20. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to talk. Are we supposed to eat? Drink? Watch a movie? I also don’t think I’ve dated the same person 20 times in the past 4 years.  So because I don’t know how shit works, I will share with you a few things I actually know.

(Of course you might not agree)

(Especially when you are my mother, and a product of a different generation)

Online Dating

Last year I went on this app which would match me with someone new every lunch time. I found very little success on the app, as I did with every other dating app such as Tinder and OKCupid.

On Tinder last year I matched with a man and we hit it off. However, it’s really hard to sustain the interest through text because over time I’d run out of things to say (I GET BORED, BUT I HARDLY RUN OUT OF THINGS TO SAY), and it was obvious we would not meet. He wrote and published a book before we made acquaintance, and he would share with me the writing he had been working on. For a while the process was fun, because I too had wanted to write books. And then I got bored because he’s not as funny as he thought he was, and I couldn’t really bring myself to read his writing.

So online dating did not really work for me.

Actual Dating

Actual dating meaning we put clothes on and meet someone or ten. I suck at this because I usually don’t know what to wear and how to behave around new adults. I am OK with work friends and friend friends and my 20-something-year-old students, but put me in front of some guy I’ve never met and either one of these two things would happen: 1) I eat a lot because I don’t like the person, or 2) I eat a lot, because I like the person. 

Other Things I’ve Learnt

  • Everything is accessible with a few clicks. You can see photos. You can know information such as the industry in which they work, what they like to eat, drink, read, and fuck, and the math doesn’t lie; if you have similar tastes, chances for a match are higher. But this is where it gets challenging. Matches are based on answers you provide on the app. Sometimes people lie. Sometimes liking the same things does not equal to liking the person. Sometimes people don’t message back.
  • Dating is tiring. No elaboration necessary.
  • I cannot date someone who does not have interests or hobbies. I am all about ikigai, but I am mature enough to understand that not everyone is philosophical or wants to ponder about life or their purpose in life. I am not philosophical most of the time. However, if I ask what you do after work and the sorta stuff you’re into and you say ‘mmmm I don’t know‘, I find it difficult to want to continue talking.
  • I keep thinking it’d probably be easier if I lost a ton of weight and just looked pretty. But tough luck. I like to eat and be fat.

Current Reads

I am currently reading a book on how to trigger the hero instinct in a man. I am on page 48 out of 213, but I think it’s better I get to know more people before I actually continue reading the book. This is because currently there is no man whose hero instinct I want to trigger. Hahah.

Dating is still a mystery for me.

I’ll let you know when I’ve learnt more things.